9 Common Misconceptions about Goal Setting

Common Misconceptions of Goal Setting

Goal Setting is not a new concept.  In fact, there are thousands upon thousands of articles about every subject on goal setting.  With all that available information, shouldn’t we all be goal setting experts?  If only, it were that easy.


I have made several errors when it comes to goal setting.  It took me awhile until I finally felt that my goal setting strategy is achieving its desired results.  In fact, there were several frustrating moments and several errors in perceptions on my part.  Once I changed my mindset about goal setting, I found myself ticking off “achieved” a lot more often than before.


Hopefully, by sharing some of my misconceptions, I can help you get on the success path when it comes to goal setting.

Here are 9 Common Misconceptions about Goal Setting:


  1. You have to start goal setting by brain storming things to work on.

Brain storming is a part of goal setting but it is not the first step. Self-knowledge, beliefs, values, and passions need to be considered.   The first step in Goal Setting is determining your Personal Philosophy.


  1. “I already have goals; I don’t need to set any.”

When you think of a goal, what comes to mind?  Some people may answer, that their goal is to be rich, thin, happy or successful.  These are more wishes and desires than goals.  Goals need to be specific and measurable.


  1. “I don’t need written goals; I have them all in my mind.”

The average stream of consciousness includes about 1,500 thoughts a minute.  When your goals are only in your mind, they are competing with all the other information and continuous incoming messages.  Goals will invariably get jumbled up, vague and confused. I recently wrote a post about 5 reasons why you should invest in writing down your goals.


  1. Goals don’t work; life is too unpredictable.”

Yes, life is extremely unpredictable.  Sometimes, you have to take detours.  By having a clear, long-term goal, with specific plans to achieve it, you can keep your focus on the final destination.  Take the detour, but keep your eye, focus and mind on your goal.


  1. All goals need to time bound

Setting deadlines for your goal is meant to motivate you into taking action.  It is not meant to get you unmotivated when you realize that the deadline might not be met.  Don’t give up.  Don’t let it discourage you.  Reschedule your deadline.  Allow for flexibly in life, and goal setting.


  1. Goals are not meant to be altered in any shape or form.

Like time flexibility, we should also be flexible with the goal itself. Maybe that entails changing  the whole goal or just a small realignment of what you want now. Circumstances in your life might require you to modify your original goal.  Or maybe, your philosophy has changed since you originally wrote down your goal.  A good practice is to re-write your goal according to the new changes.


  1. The only goal to celebrate is the “BIG” one

Most “BIG” goals have many smaller steps. Sometimes the little steps don’t seem to add up to a measurable result initially.  Jot down important milestones that you need to reach before realizing the long-term goal.  Once you hit a milestone, CELEBRATE.  You deserve it!


  1. Long term goals are too hard to achieve.

Long term goals are not any harder than short-term goals.  They are just composed of a greater quantity of smaller steps that need to be climbed before reaching the top.  Setting multiple short-term goals will seem more achievable and will motivate you in achieving your long-term goal.


  1. Goals can only be started at the beginning of the year.

This is an obvious misconception.  If you have a goal, don’t wait for your New Year’s resolutions.   Setting Goals can begin today. All it takes is an idea and the willingness to create a plan for achieving your goals.

Setting goals helps by mapping out your future.  It helps you to keep focused on what you find important in your life. Start setting goals today, and remember to write them down.


What misconceptions have you had when setting goals?  Which part of goal-setting do you find most difficult?